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What to do when you experience cramps

When you feel a cramp, it is important to stretch the affected muscle or limb and therefore the stretching exercise should be different for each type of cramp depending on whether it appears in the legs, feet, hands or calf. After doing the stretching exercises, it is recommended to do a good massage on the sore muscle to reduce the inflammation and bring relief from the discomfort.

Cramping is a muscle spasm, that is, an involuntary contraction of one or more muscles. This can happen after intense exercise, overnight or at any moment, due to dehydration or lack of magnesium, for example. Muscle spasms are strong and can not be controlled voluntarily. At the time of the cramp the muscles are pulled back and there is intense pain and a need to solve the problem immediately.

How to eliminate a cramp instantly

The best strategy for eliminating a cramp instantly, is to force the muscle in the opposite direction of the cramp by forcing the muscle to stretch. To do so, it is necessary to use your hands to pull the feet in the opposite direction to the cramp, or to ask another person to carry out this movement. Here's what can be done with the most common types of cramp:

1. What to do for a leg cramp

Cramp in the front of the thigh
Cramp in the front of the thigh
Cramp behind the thigh
Cramp behind the thigh

In the case of a leg cramp, what you should do to relieve the pain is:

  • Cramp in front of the thigh: stand up and bend the affected leg back as shown in the picture, holding on to the foot and holding that position for 1 minute.
  • Cramp behind the thigh: Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out and bend your body forward, trying to touch your toes with your toes and stand in that position for 1 minute.

2. What to do for feet cramps

Foot cramp
Foot cramp

When the fingers are facing down, you can place a cloth on the floor and place your feet on top of the cloth and then pull the top of the cloth up and hold that position for 1 minute. Another option is to sit with your leg stretched out and hold the tip of your feet with your hands, pulling your fingers in the opposite direction of the cramp.

3. What to do for calf cramps

Cramp in the calf
Cramp in the calf

Cramps in the calf of the leg may not affect the muscles of the feet, and in this case what you can do is stand up, about 60 cm from a wall and keep your feet flat on the floor, and lean forward, which causes the calf to stretch. Another option is to sit on the floor with your leg stretched out and ask someone to hold your foot and force your fingers forward. Stay in this position for 1 minute.

4. What to do for abdominal cramps

Abdominal cramp
Abdominal cramp
What to do when you experience cramps

A good way to relieve belly cramps is:

  • Abdominal Cramps: lie with you belly downwards, place your hands next to your body and then stretch your arms, lifting your torso, as shown in the picture. Stay in this position for 1 minute.
  • Cramps on the side of the belly: stand up, stretch your arms over your head, interlacing your hands, and then bend your torso to the opposite side of the cramp, holding this position for about 1 minute.

5. What to do for cramps in the hands or fingers

Finger Cramps
Finger Cramps

Cramps in the fingers of the hand make the fingers turn suddenly inwards to the palm of the hand and in this case it is advisable to place an open hand on the table and hold the cramped finger and turn it in the opposite direction. Another option is to hold all the fingers of the cramped hand with your opposite hand, as shown in the image. Stay in this position for 1 minute.

Foods that fight cramps

A healthy diet can also help to treat and prevent cramps and so you should invest in foods rich in magnesium and vitamin B, such as Brazilian nuts. You should also drink more water because dehydration is one of the main causes for cramps.

When cramps occur more than once a day or take more than 10 minutes to go away, it is recommended you see a general practitioner to initiate appropriate treatment, which may include potassium or magnesium supplements, for example. Cramps are more common during pregnancy, the obstetrician should be told about this because it may be necessary to take a magnesium dietary supplement for a few days, for example.

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